MAYO County Council has come up with a novel way of ensuring people are not rowdy and get home safe after the pub this Christmas – by handing out free lollipops.
The "gobstopper" sweets will carry a message of safety for those who are making their way home – and will also ensure late night revellers are quiet coming out of the nightclubs and pubs, the council’s Road Safety Officer says.
“If they're sucking lollipops, they can't be shouting,” said Niall Gibbons.
The lollipop wrappers will bear a slogan urging people to “Get home safely” - in a bid to ensure people travel home safely in a car or taxi and avoid drink-driving and walking.
Mr Gibbons spoke to RTÉ about the garda and nightclub owner-backed scheme, saying it was a “sucker punch” way to “placate aggressive, drunken men at the end of a night out”.
“Like giving candy to a grumpy baby, lollipops are said to have similar effects on grown men and women. Moreover, arguments fuelled by drunken bravado and macho attitudes often escalate following verbal exchanges, but stick a lollipop in their mouth, and it becomes a lot harder to shout,” he said.
Mr Gibbons said he hoped that the unusual scheme would make people sit up and pay attention to safety on nights out, particularly as the festive season kicks off.
The lollipops will cost taxpayers 2 cent (1p) each – and hundreds have been bought to be distributed over the coming weeks.
This is not Mayo's first rather unusual safety campaign - the county council had images of Mrs Doyle scattered across the county in July for a Bank Holiday road safety campaign.